Payroll tax cut won't benefit all
MLK Day 2011

By the Numbers: 2%

Welcome to By the Numbers, a new feature here on the ol' blog.

Each Sunday a figure -- a percentage, dollar amount, raw number and the like -- with a tax connection will the highlighted.

I've planned numerical posts through this filing season, but if there's interest, by me as well as all y'all!, I'll keep it up year-round.

As with the tax tips, I'll collect these numerical postings on a special page so you can peruse them at your tax wonky leisure.

So enough text already. To the digits.

2-percent-icon The inaugural By the Numbers number is 2 percent. No, I'm not talking (again) about the new payroll tax reduction.

Although the figure is the same, this time it's the percentage of your adjusted gross income that your miscellaneous expenses must exceed before you can deduct them on Schedule A.

Among the costs you can count in the miscellaneous category are unreimbursed employee expenses; certain job hunting expenditures; investment related costs, such as the fee for the safe deposit box where you keep your stock certificates; and even the cost of doing your taxes, such as accountant fees or the cost of your computer tax preparation software.

The IRS has details on what's deductible here in Publication 529, Miscellaneous Deductions.

One way to ensure you have enough miscellaneous expenses to exceed 2 percent of your AGI so you can itemize them is to set up a bunching strategy. The sooner in the tax year that you do this, the more likely you won't waste tax deductions.

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